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Sweden gets all-clear for Iraq deportations

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07:55 CET+01:00
Sweden can resume deportations to Iraq, the migration authority has announced, following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights to lift its suspension.

"The European Court of Human Rights has today (Wednesday) informed us that all cases of deportations to Iraq sent to the court will be handled individually," the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) said in a statement.

On October 22nd, the Court had informed Sweden, Britain and the Netherlands that it would rule in favour of the plaintiffs in all cases where Iraqis appealed their deportation order until it had gathered more information on the security situation in the war-torn country.

Since then, Sweden had suspended around 200 deportations at the request of the court, the Migration Board said.

"We have stopped the deportations that the court asked us to stop," the board's legal chief Mikael Ribbenvik told AFP, adding that Sweden had never completely stopped sending rejected asylum-seekers back to Iraq.

Wednesday's ruling "confirms the Swedish, and also the European practice, that these cases should be determined individually," he said.

"We will continue to deport Iraqis who do not need protection," he said, stressing however that "many are also given asylum."

Sweden, which has in recent years taken in more Iraqis than any other Western country, tightened its asylum policy in 2007, when a record 18,559 Iraqis arrived in the Scandinavian country.

Since then, all Iraqi asylum-seekers have needed to prove they are personally threatened at home to be granted asylum in Sweden, and in 2009, 3,230 Iraqis asylum-seekers were rejected while 1,524 saw their applications granted.

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